Emily and I in Budapest
Random fact: five minutes after meeting my best friend, Emily, we agreed we needed to go to Europe together someday. Last summer, three years after we met, we actually found ourselves in Europe together for five weeks.
Around this time last year, Emily and I were talking on the phone about who-knows-what when the conversation turned to mission trips. She told me that she was thinking about going on a mission project with Cru to Hungary. "That's cool," I thought, and we didn't talk about it again for a few months.
In February or early March, she told me she had applied and been accepted. She was super excited and continued to tell me all about it. I found out it was a five week long project called "SpeakOut." SpeakOut is an English camp that Cru puts on for Hungarian high school and college students. Basically, Emily told me she would be a tutor who would share the Gospel with her campers through tutoring them in English. I have an English degree, and I had been praying about an opportunity to teach English overseas, so when she told me more and more about the project, I got excited, too. I began to pray about whether I should apply to be a part of SpeakOut 2015.
The deadline to apply for the project was March 31st. On March 30th, I still wasn't sure if I should apply. I have some serious food allergies, and I was hesitant to apply to go somewhere for five weeks where I would have to trust the school chef to cook food that was safe for me. This probably sounds ridiculous, but I have major trust issues when it comes to letting people cook for me. Being allergic to gluten, dairy, nuts, eggs, grapefruit and chickpeas pretty much means I'm impossible to cook for. I don't even trust my family to cook for me. This sounds so dumb to me now, but the biggest reason I was afraid to apply for the project was that I was afraid I'd get sick from the food. I ended up emailing the project director about this, and he reassured me that the school cooks would make meals safe for me, and that I shouldn't let that keep me from applying. So I did it. At eleven p.m. on the day of the deadline, I filled out the application. I will forever be glad that I did.
Emily had to wait about a month to hear that she had been accepted. Three or four days after I applied, she and I were talking on the phone, and I told her that waiting to hear if I was accepted was killing me. I just wanted to know! Little did I know that while I was on the phone with her, the project director had emailed me letting me know that they would like me to be a part of the project. And just like that, I found myself overwhelmed at the idea of going to Europe for five weeks. The only thing that kept me from freaking out whenever I thought about it was prayer. I'd pray nearly every time I thought about SpeakOut because the thought of it made me worry about a million different things. Before the project even began, I was having to work on trusting God more than ever.
I went to Hungary praying that God would use me to change people's lives, but I believe that God used SpeakOut to change my own life as well. I learned more about trusting Him, not putting Him in a box, the important of Christian community, and how to be bold in sharing what I believe with others--even to people who speak another language--and so much more. If I had let my fears about applying for the project keep me from applying, I would have missed out on all God had in store for me in the small city of Keszthely, Hungary. Something as small as my inconvenient food allergies came close to keeping me from following where God was leading me. I am grateful God gave me the courage to trust Him in this endeavor because it led to one of the best experiences of my life. I just had to trust God to take that first step in applying for SpeakOut. It's true that the first step is the scariest. Hitting "submit" on my application was daunting, but led to the most amazing summer of my life and led to friendships I now cherish.